Hey everyone, my site has now moved over to a new domain at http://designtypegeek.com so come on over and join the fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good Web Design at A List Apart

I've just come across this series of articles on A List Apart. The first article discusses the difference between "graceful degradation" and "progressive enhancement" which is a subtle but important difference. The second article deals with CSS and so got my mind tweak when talking about typography and how CSS can control it, which is something I want to get more involved in. I had read that the Thesis theme for WordPress does a lot of work with typography... and I want to learn how!

If you have any good sites that discuss, explain, or illustrate good typography in web design, please leave them in the comments for all to see and explore.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Design vs Style: Screw Style!

Here is an older article by Eric Karjaluoto at ideasonideas about how style should be left out of any good design:

http://www.ideasonideas.com - Style Article (not a real url)

I can see his argument. While its true that design should be dictated by the function of the problem you are trying to solve, I think its also important to attempt to create an eye-pleasing result that gets your message across. Eye-pleasing doesn't have to mean a "style" or design that will be come dated quickly... and lets hope its possible to create a great design that lasts the test of time.

Also, I wonder why exactly he things Comic Sans is a horrible font.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Water Wave Typography

An interesting article that I just came across now, dealing with research into printing letters and simple Japanese kanji on a new medium: water!

The people over at Pink Tentacle wrote this article about the research.

It will definitely have some applications. The method is almost ingenious... well okay definitely ingenious, though it roughly creates "water pixels". Which I suppose as water elements would be called "wixels". More correctly it would be "watels" but wixels will probably gain more traction as a usable word.

There, you heard hear first... hopefully I just coined a new term.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm running to help cure Breast Cancer

You may not know that I'm also interested in staying healthy and fit. This Sunday I'm running a 5 Kilometer (3.1 miles) for the CIBC Run for the Cure to support Breast Cancer. It would be great if you amazing readers can find the time to support me by giving a donation for this great cause.

You can read more about it at http://active-wellness.blogspot.com/2008/09/help-support-canadian-breast-cancer.html or give directly at https://www.cibcrunforthecure.com/html/personal_page.asp?track=3057758&languageid=1

Cheers,

Rick

Friday, September 19, 2008

Free Hand Drawn Fonts

I found a great design site with lots of freebies at fudgegraphics.com. In this case, it was a collection of hand drawn fonts with a nice pencil-sketch look to them. The fonts all come from a great font collection called DaFont. What sets this font site apart from the rest? Well its large collection of REALLY GOOD fonts! I haven't spent too much time there, but a lot of good fonts were found just from visiting the front page.

One of the great things I love about typography, and yet still almost hate about it at the same time, is the unlimited variety that can be found in designer type. There are practically an infinite number of fonts out there! It can make it hard to choose a specific font for a specific project.

A good software package for organizing your fonts is a must if you are doing a lot of design and don't want to get overwhelmed by the choices out there.

What font organizing program do you use? Leave it in the comments and in the future I'll write a post about some of the most popular.

Thanks to a recent post by David Airey re: user comments or I wouldn't have found this great site.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Star Wars Fonts and Information

I was just reading an article in the last issue of Wired on Chee Leland, the keeper of continuity in the Star Wars universe (that WOULD be a great job - read it here). In an aside comment, the author makes reference to the Aurebesh alphabet... so of course with my interest in fonts and typography, not to mention made up languages and their connection to real ones, I just had to google it.



The Aurebesh alphabet was created by graphic artist Stephen Crane. In this article, Mr. Crane explains how it came about that he created the alphabet for the Empire... at least one of them anyway.

The article is a great read, and includes links to a whole collection of Star Wars related fonts including a hand-written version of the Aurebesh alphabet (named after the first two characters, Aurek and Besh naturally) but also Ewok and Droid letters.

The article was written in 2000 and mentions a Trade Federation font that appears in a Droid Viewer on the StarWars site, but that viewer is no longer easily accessible. It might be there somewhere but I don't have time to go looking for it. However, a search of the StarWars.com site brought me to this link: Trade Federation Font created by Peter Schuster Jr.

Besides, who can complain about free fonts!?
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great Color Website and Tools

Through the power of blogging, I've found a couple of amazing colour sites I wanted to share. Of course I love fonts and cool paper, but who doesn't love colour?! Especially when trying to find the perfect shade or colour combination for a website or other design piece, working with colour is a whole art and science unto itself. I had been reading a blog by Sugarrae about a new WordPress Theme, when I came across a blog post of big name sites that use WordPress, and one of them happens to be this amazing colour website, ColourLovers.com. The site is so big and so diverse, that the best thing about the site is not just that they spell "colour" correctly :)

ColourLovers is a combination community blog and social tool, with a whole bunch of cool colour palettes and other tools available. I'd love to become a member but I wonder if I'd have the time to really check everything out!

In one of the posts on Multi-blends, I found this tool to create colour blends which I thought was pretty great as well.

Its definitely a great site... perhaps better than Adobe's Kuler... but just not as cool :)

[edited for spelling...added: interesting note, ColourLovers is the first site in a google search for 'colour palettes'... if you spell it right. GO SEO!]

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How do I create a font?

I've always wanted to design my own font (typeface!), and the last two days I had been wondering what software to use, and just now StumbleUpon has led me to this great article. It explains it all.

http://www.solscape.com/site/articles/fontmaking.html

I've actually done a kind of designer type that I use on whiteboards when I'm teaching my computer labs. I'll try and get some photos and post them to get your feedback.

If you are a new or highly skilled font designer or foundry, drop me your best tips or favourite software!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to make a Monogram

A few months ago I started working on some designs I thought would be useful for my wedding, which will be happening June 7, 2008. We expected to do our own invitations, and I had wanted to try playing with our initials so I took to working on a monogram for us... but since there are two initials isn't called a duogram?

My fiancee decided not to change her last name (which begins with an S) and I wasn't about to change mine (which starts with an H) and there was talk of having the future offspring with the S-H name... that is yet to be determined. But I figured for the purposes of decoration, there would be nothing wrong with a nice SH monogram so I fired up Photoshop and spent sometime with it.


This first image (72 point Edwardian) was the starting point but I had to work on the spacing.



In the second image I played with the spacing enough to have the flourish on the H seem to hug or embrace the S. The S is slightly higher to place the letters closer together, but any closer and the fine lines of the flourish would just crowd the other parts of the S. I like this and the colour looks very good as well (though probably not as good here in the blog). However, the H is hard to work with given its weird top flourish.


This last image is a completely different typeface. The H is a little more... reserved? Well quite a bit fancier but not as expansive anyway. The S fits well in this position, but you can't really tell its an S. One thing that bugs me about some typefaces is lettershapes that don't look like the letters they are supposed to represent. These letters would look nice in a fancy document, possibly with gold embossing or gold leaf.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey. If I have made errors in terminology please correct me. Have you ever had to design your own monogram? Post some links and show your work!

Before writing up this post, I came across this article which also inspired me:

http://www.graphic-design.com/Type/alex_white/typography_craft.html

Monday, April 14, 2008

Favourite Font: Poster Bodoni Baby!

I used to work with a guy who absolutely loved to shout "Poster Bodoni Baby!" in a really loud, obnoxious voice.

I had been thinking about writing a post like this for the past few days, because it is one of my most memorable typography/font/design moments. The above mentioned co-worker, crazy Mike B. just recently friended me on Facebook so I thought today was the day!

In my very early design days, I was in 4th year university and I had become a volunteer graphic designer for the schools student body marketing department. I got to use great software like CorelDraw! 5 and pretty good computers, but the people were what really made that job what it was... good and the bad. This was back in the day when I could identify a number of fonts by site alone, which is actually kind of a fun. I can't do the same today really but I hope to resurrect that skill... though I can still tell the difference between Verdana and Lucinda Grande (ok, maybe on a good day).

Anyway, MikeB. always said his favourite font was Poster Bodoni, and he would come into the office shouting "Poster Bodoni Baby!" anytime he wanted a poster made (he was in PR, so we created the posters he needed). And admittedly, its quite a nice font. You can see what it looks like by checking out the Poster Bodoni sample page on Myfonts.com which is where you can buy it if isn't already installed on your machine. That site is really neat because it includes the history of how the typeface was created. Which is just great for us typegeeks.

What's your favourite font? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

(t) How to create a dropcap in Word 2003 and 2007

Good news! I got a new domain! Come check things out, as well as the article that was here, is now here: http://designtypegeek.com/2008/04/how-to-create-a-dropcap-in-word-2003-and-2007/

ActionScript 3.0 Pre-loader for Flash CS3

Until I decide that I really will start a computer / tech oriented blog, I found a Flash/ActionScript 3.0 tutorial I figured I would link to here. You can check out this ActionScript preloader from clickpopmedia.

It starts right in on the code, so don't try it if your a beginner but if you are familiar with ActionScript it should be a cakewalk.

I plan on working on learning Flash myself in the next few weeks (though Monday I start my A+ certification training) so I hope in a couple of weeks this tutorial WILL be a piece of cake for me. Besides, then I'll be able to develop a nice Flash tutorial on typography for you. Or perhaps a series of posts anyway. I did start writing a learning app in Visual Basic but I seem to have misplaced it on my office computer somehow...

If you have any links to great typography, design or graphic tutorials, post them below in the comments.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

First post! Yes I am a typegeek.

Ok its not my first post EVER, but its my first post here.

I was struck with the idea of creating a typography, graphic design, artsy blog after reading an article at designfloat.com. It reminded me of the typography chapter I studied once in a graphic design course I took at school. That course and the teacher, Mike Bax, really got me hooked on typography. Although I had been involved with graphic design for years earlier. I was actually hired as a volunteer graphic artist (technically a graphic designer) when I was in 4th year at university... and I didn't have any experience! I thought I was just going to help people format their resumes. But the times I had there were amazing, and perhaps ever since then I have had a private desire to become a graphic designer.

I promised myself that if I ever went back to school, it would be for graphic design. That didn't exactly happen... but there is still time!

Actually I keep my hand in design occasionally still with taking classes in drawing, chinese brush painting, 3d computer graphics or just making invitations using cool paper!

Of all the blogs I've started recently, this is the one that makes me the most excited... although that could be because I tend to move from one topic to another on a rotating basis... sometimes something just jumps to the forefront for a while! I actually had a lot of fun just doing the logo at the top of the page! I must be using an older version of MS Paint I guess, because the anti-aliasing is just awful and there is no other settings for it!

That’s the problem with typography: once you learn a little bit about it you can’t help but notice the flaws whereever you see it. I hope this blog will become instructional as well as over the months I will develop tutorials about fonts and typography, as well as any other related technologies I can think of.

So for starters, what’s your favourite font?

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